“Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17, CSB)
I’ve heard this phrase misused a lot. People are quick to claim these realities of our royalty like it’s here and now. I’ve heard comments such as: “You are a child of the king, pray like it” or “We are reigning even now in this life so nothing can stand in our way.”
“In life” is being used to qualify what type of reign it is. It is a reign that takes place in the space of true life. This life that we live in this body is just a shadow of the true life that we are promised with God forever. It’s easy to get caught in the message of eternal life when we should be rejoicing over the promise of authentic life. When we stress the acquisition of eternal life, we are coming dangerously close to the words of the serpent in the garden.
We are promised struggles in this life, but we are also promised that genuine faith ignites hope, endurance, and character within us. These things are used by the Spirit of God to navigate the pains of this life while we wait for true and everlasting life with God in the age to come.
As always, scripture gives a friendly perspective:
“if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us;” (2 Timothy 2:12, CSB)
“Night will be no more; people will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will give them light, and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:5, CSB)
The Lord God is about to remove … every kind of security.
3:1-12 | What do I take security in? Here are a few: money in the bank, health and happiness in my family, knowing that my parents and grandparents support me, having older men that I can go to for counsel, books full of answers to hard questions. Without these I would feel much less confident day to day. In Isaiah 3, God begins to remove anything and everything that the people and the leaders take comfort in. They have looked to these things before God. In the process, they have “spoken and acted against the Lord, defying his glorious presence” (3:8).
Tell the righteous that it will go well for them. Those who remain faithful to God have nothing to fear. Not because their lives will be easier, but because their hope is in something greater than food and water and leaders. “They will eat the fruit of their [righteous] labor” maybe not in this life but the next.
3:13-15 | Above all the chaos the Lord has been sitting and watching the scurrying of his people until he stands to quiet the madness. He stands to judge the people, but the charges are brought against the elders and the people. These men were supposed to be wise husbandry men tending to the vineyard of the Lord. Vineyards are so beautiful and orderly. The have row after row of vines growing on well spaced trellises. You can walk up and down the rows following individual vines and watching the progress of each vine producing flowers and fruit. The vinedresser must take time to remove damaged or diseased plants so that more useful fruit is produced. But the leaders have not tended the vineyard of the Lord. They have devastated it. They have taken what they needed and left everything in ruin. They continue to extort anything they can from an already poor people. They have taken the fruit, cut off the leaves, and chopped down the vine.
Father, help me to be cautious in leadership knowing that you hold leaders to a higher standard. Thank you Jesus for being the restored vine of the people of God. Thank you for grafting me into the true vine. Spirit, help me to remain righteous in a world full of false securities. Help me to abide in Christ. Show me what needs to be pruned away to produce more productive fruit for the Lord’s vineyard.